Motorhome enthusiasts will be delighted with the news that Transport Minister Norman Baker has called for a summit meeting with local authorities and map makers in early spring.
The Minister has sprung into action after chaotic scenes in rural villages involving disorientated motorists has infuriated local populations in all corners of the UK. Professional drivers and tourists have been misled and misdirected by sat nav systems, and many motorhome insurance claims have been precipitated by tourers causing damage to their vehicles after finding themselves in flooded fords, narrow lanes and cul-de-sacs all at the behest of their on-board navigation system.
The meeting will bring together highway authorities, mapmakers, sat nav designers and possibly motor manufacturers. The Minister is keen to allow local councils to identify their own favoured routing of traffic and pass this information onto the mapping experts.
The move was welcomed by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) whose spokesman, Jack Neil-Hall, said “This is welcome news to those of us who are now all too familiar with finding lost foreign lorries wedged in a narrow country lane or red-faced tourists in campervans reversing off the village cricket pitch. We can only hope all the delegates can successfully find their way to the summit as well as finding a solution to the problem.”
Motoring groups greeted the news less enthusiastically with the general feeling being that Department for Transport road signage could be improved significantly. Neil Greig, head of research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), said “While we welcome the ‘Sat Nav Summit’, high quality and consistent signposting will always be the best way to ensure that drivers get the information they require when and where they need it most. Local authorities and government must ensure adequate funding for traditional signposting remains a top priority even in the digital age.”